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tation for national justice and prudence as they have done for courage and perseverance. ‘. . . It grieves me that we have not been able to discharge our first year's payment of interest to this court, due the beginning of last month. I hope it will be the only failure, and that effectual measures will be taken to be exactly punctual hereafter. The good paymaster, says the proverb, is lord of another man's purse. The bad one, if he ever has again occasion to borrow, must pay dearly for his carelessness and injustice. - . . . . . ; You are happy in having got back safe to your country. It should be less unhappy, if I could imagine the delay of my congé useful to the states, or in the least degree necessary. But they have many equally capable of doing all I have to do here. The new-proposed treaties are the most important things; but two can go through them as well as three, if indeed any are likely to be completed, which I begin to doubt, since the new ones make little progress, and the old ones, which wanted only the fiat of congress, seem now to be rather going backward; I mean those I had projected with Denmark and Portugal. My grandsons are sensible of the honor of your remembrance, and present their respects to you and Mrs. Jay. I add my best wishes of health and happiness to you all, being with sincere esteem and affection, dear sir, your most obedient humble servant, B. FRANRLIN.
To BARoN MAs ER Es. Results of the American contest—State of America—The *** toyalists—Confiscation of estates. * SfR, - - Passy, June 26, 1785. I have just received your friendly letter of the 20th instant.” I agree with you perfectly in the opinion, that though the contest has been hurtful to both our countries, yet the event, a separation, is better even for yours than success. The reducing and keeping us in subjection by au armed force would have cost you more than the dominion could be worth, and our slavery would have brought on yours. The ancient system of the British empire was a happy one, by which the colonies were allowed to govern and tax themselves. Had it been wisely continued, it is hard to imagine the degree of power and importance in the world. that empire might have arrived at. All the means of growing greatness, extent of territory, agriculture, commerce, arts; population, were within its own limits, and therefore at its command. I used to consider that system as a large-andbeautiful porcelain vase. I lamented the measures that I saw likely to break it, and strove to prevent them ; because once broken, I saw no probability of its being ever repaired. My endeavors did not succeed: we are broken, and the parts. must now do as well as they can for themselves. We may still do well though separated. I have great hopes of our side, and good wishes for yours. The anarchy and confusion you mention as supposed to prevail among us, exist only in your newspapers. I have authentic accounts which assure me that no people were ever better governed, or more content with their respective constitutions and governments than the present thirteen states of America. A little reflection may convince any reasonable man, that a government wherein the administrators are chosen annually by the free voice of the govermed, and may also be recalled at any time if their conduct displeases their constituents, cannot be a tyrannical one, as your loyalists represent it; who at the same time inconsistently-desire to return and live under it. And, among an intelligent enlightened people as ours is, there must always be too numerous and too strong a party for supporting good
government and the claws, to suffer what is called anarchy." This better account of our, situation must be pleasing to your. humanity, and therefore I give it you. . - on to ... But we differ a little in our sentiments respecting the loyalists (as they call themselves) and, the conduct of Ameriqa, towards them, which you think “seems actuated by a spirit of revenge; and that it would have been more agreeable to policy, as well as justice, to have restored their estates upon their taking the oaths of allegiance to the new governments.” That there should still be soune resentment against; them in the breasts of those who have had their houses, farms, and towns so lately destroyed, and relations scalped under the conduct of these royalists, is not wonderful; though I believe the opposition given by many to their re-establishing among us is owing to a firm persuasion, that there could be no reliance on their oaths; and that the effect of receiving those people again would be an introduction of that very anarchy and confusion they falsely reproach us with. Even the example you propose of the English.commonwealth's restoring the estates of the royalists after their being subdued, seems rather to countenance and encourage our acting differently, as probably if the power, which always accompanies, property, had not been restored to the royalists; if their estates had remained, confiscated, and their persons had been banished, they could not have so much contributed to the restoration of kingly power, and the new government of the republic might have been more durable. The majority of examples in your history are on the other side of the question, All the estates in England and south of Scotland, and most of those passessed, by the descendants of the English in Ireland, are held from ancient confiscations made of the estates of Caledonians and Britons, the original possessors in
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your island, or the native Irish, in the last century only. It is but a few months since that your parliament has, in a few instances, given up confiscations incurred by a rebellion suppressed forty years ago. The war against us was begun by a general act of parliament declaring all our estates confiscated, and probably one great motive to the loyalty of the royalists was the hope of sharing in these confiscations. They have played a deep game, staking their estates against ours; and they have been unsuccessful. But it is a surer game, since they had promises to rely on from your government of indemnification in case of loss; and 1 see your parliament is about to fulfil those promises." To this I have no objection, because though still our enemies, they are men; they are in necessity; and I think even an hired assassin has a right to his pay from his employer : it seems too more reasonable that the expense of paying these should fall upon the government who encouraged the mischief done, rather than upon us who suffered it; the confiscated estates making amends but for a very small part of that mischief: it is not therefore clear that our retaining them is chargeable with injustice. “I have hinted above, that the name loyalists, was improperly assumed by these people. Royalists they may perhaps be called: but the true loyalists were the people of America against whom they acted. No people were ever known more truly loyal, and universally so, to their sovereigns: the protestant succession in the house of Hanover was their idol. Not a jacobite was to be found from one end of the colonies to the other. They were affectionate to the people of England, zealous and forward to assist in her wars, by voluntary contributions of men and money, even beyond their proportion. The king and parliament had fre
quently acknowledged this by public messages, resolutions,
and reimbursements. But they were equally fond of what they esteemed their rights, and if they resisted when those
were attacked, it was a resistance in favor of a British constitution, which every Englishman might share in enjoying,
who should come to live among them : it was resisting arbitrary impositions that were contrary to common right and to their fundamental constitutions, and to constant ancient usage. It was indeed a resistance in favor of the liberties of England, which might have been endangered by success in the attempt against ours; and therefore a great man in your parliament" did not scruple to declare, he rejoiced that America had resisted 1 I, for the same reason, may add this very resistance to the other instances of their loyalty. I have already said, that I think it just you should reward those Americans who joined your troops in the war against their own country: but if ever honesty could be inconsistent with policy, it is so in this instance. B. FRANKLIN.
To M. DUPo NT DE NEMoURs, AT PARIs.
New constitution of the United States—Principles of trade, &c. : SIR, Philadelphia, June 9, 1788. '. I have received your favor of December 31, with the extract of a letter which you wish to have translated and published here. But seven states having, before it arrived, ratified the new constitution, and others being daily expected to do the same, after the fullest discussion in convention, and in all the public papers, till every body was tired of the argument, it seemed too late to propose delay, and especially the delay that must be occasioned by a revision and correc